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Fatster’s News Roundup from August 20, 2012

Howdy, Firepups, your Monday evening news is right here.

International Developments

? “At least seven people have been killed and dozens more wounded in a bomb attack in south-eastern Turkey . . . .” It was a car bomb near a police station in Gaziantep.

? “Iraq has been helping Iran skirt economic sanctions imposed because of its nuclear program, using a network of financial institutions and oil-smuggling operations that are providing Tehran with a crucial flow of dollars . . ..” Apparently, complicity ranges from “turning a blind eye” to profiteering off it.

? In his first article at the UK Guardian, Glenzilla argues that, while the US government and others have condemned the terrorist tactic of launching “a follow-up attack aimed at those who go to the scene of the original attack to rescue the wounded”, the US itself is doing the same thing in Pakistan.

? “Can Somalia dare to hope for the future?” Today, a new president will be chosen for Somalia–elected “by the new parliament, which was elected by the clan elders whose warlords have brought anarchy to the country for two decades . . ..” Some see a sliver of hope; others fear a return to warlordism. Update: The new parliament has now been installed.

? And over in Yemen, “revolution continues in Change Square six months after Saleh’s fall.” There are still some tents in the square, but few, and there is division among activists. Saleh’s son commands the Republican Guard which fights with government troops, Saleh is still in country–and young activists look to Washington for help.

International Finance

? Well, guess what? It’s all the customers’ fault that those banksters lied in reporting to Libor. Sir David Walker, Barclays chairman, said the Libor scandal was “a consequence of not charging for bank accounts”. Thus, the Big Banks are calling for account fees for their customers. That’ll teach ’em!

? “As Greece sinks ever deeper into the most severe economic depression in living memory, some young people are taking drastic action to change their lives.” They are moving to the countryside, learning to live communally–and, with 76% of Greeks wishing they could emigrate, the new movement is attracting much interest.

Money Matters USA

? “Apple, the maker of iPhones and iPads, has become the world’s most valuable company–ever.”

Politics USA

? Romney tax returns update # 642: Mitt “plans to make public his 2011 tax return by October 15,” according to a senior campaign adviser. However, could it be that “Romney’s Tax Returns Hiding Voter Fraud?” Intriguing suggestion having to do with Romney’s possibly voting in one state while residing in another.

? “Struggling Indiana public school districts are buying billboard space, airing radio ads and even sending principals door-to-door” in an effort to keep the public schools open and functioning rather than having millions of public dollars transferred to private schools. They are up against a Republican-dominated legislature which passed a voucher program last year.

? Two articles on Chicago’s communities of Roseland and the South Side. “Roseland has become one of the worst-off parts of the city by just about every measure you can think of: unemployment rate, dropout rate, murder rate or just the barren, empty feel of the streets.” Funds are being cut, thus undercutting the work of dedicated community workers who are struggling to continue the work Barack Obama did there over two decades ago. As a South Side activist put it, “What you have here are three generations of the 99 per centers within the African America community . . . we all feel like we’re disenfranchised and on the outside . . . that’s a problem for the president.”

? Who’s going to speak at the Democratic Convention? Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, MA Sen John Kerry, MD Gov Martin O’Malley, VA former Gov Tim Kane, MA Gov Deval Patrick, OH former Gov Ted Strickland, CA Attorney General Kamala Harris, CO Gov John Hickenlooper. Keynote will still be San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

? Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and five other congressmen were drinking in Israel and decided to take a swim in the Sea of Galilee. Yoder was the only one who supposedly skinny-dipped, though. He’s apologized for the dip and denies he imbibed.

? Cat fight? Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said, somewhat ominously, that Sen Scott Brown (R-MA) has been “off the reservation on a number of Republican issues, very conservative issues”, which just might lead to Brown’s being asked to drop out of his race for the Senate. Perkins wouldn’t say it was because Brown said Todd Akin should drop out of his race for the Senate because of the “legitimate rape” fiasco. [cont’d]

? FWIW: Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore (a SC financier) are the first two women to be admitted to the Augusta National Golf Club. Bonus quote from Romney: “If I could run Augusta, which isn’t likely to happen, of course I’d have women.” Well, all righty then.

The War on Women

? Todd Akin’s oral eruption has brought to light some statistics (gasp!) from the Aug 1996 American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The article documented the rape-related pregnancy rate and estimated 32,101 pregnancies resulting from rape in the US annually, as of that time. BTW, the petition to House Speaker John Boehner to remove Akin from the House Science and Technology Committee (obviously a mis-fit if ever there was one) is here in case you missed DDay’s link to it earlier.

? Smart move, you bet. PA’s new voter ID law will affect the elderly the most–and they tend to vote Republican. In the 13 southeastern PA counties that account for about half the state’s registered voters, around 15% of the elderly probably won’t have a valid ID. It’s higher in the Lehigh Valley “where seniors make up 21 percent of registered voters”, but 33% of voters there don’t have valid IDs either.

Working for A Living

? Things are getting bitter in the 15-week International Association of Machinists (IAM) strike at Caterpillar in Joliet, IL. “According to reports, the company’s . . . last, best and final offer . . . was very close to the concession-laden [offer] that precipitated the strike in the first place . . ..” IAM district leadership has reached an agreement with Caterpillar, but the final vote will be made by the rank-and-file.

Planet Earth News

? Government-held “buffer stocks” of grain were done away with in the ’90s, leaving the world in a terrible position this year with the devastation of corn and soybean crops by drought; isn’t it time to restore those buffer stocks through the Farm Bill? 86% of farmers want “incentives for environmentally friendly farming”; shouldn’t the $6 billion cut in conservation programs in the Farm Bill be restored for that purpose?

? Venezuela has reduced electricity sent to Brazil’s Roraima state by 20% and will have to cut more next month–“if the drought continues”. The water level at Venezuela’s Guri Dam, supplying 70% of Venezuela’s electricity, has fallen “drastically”.

South America

? Serious “human rights violations and health and environmental harms [are] being caused in Guatemala by (mainly) Canadian mining company operations: Goldcorp Inc, Radius Gold, Tahoe Resoures, Hudbay Minerals, Skye Resources, etc.” Costs in natural resources and the health and well-being of the people of Guatemala are due to the corruption and lack of “legal or political accountability” for the country’s elites.

Mixed Bag

? RIP, Scott McKenzie with flowers in your hair.

? RIP, Tony Scott, acclaimed director.

? RIP, Phyllis Diller, when humor was lighter.

Break Time

? Haunted by His Muse

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David Dayen

David Dayen